BASINGSTOKE Town’s partnership with Soccer AM will be officially launched on Saturday with a star-studded afternoon of free entertainment taking place at the newly-named The Soccer AM Stadium.
The club have entered into a ground-breaking arrangement with Sky Sports’ flagship Saturday morning show, agreeing to rename their stadium in exchange for regular appearances on the programme throughout the 2014-15 season.
As part of the deal, a team from Soccer AM, including presenter Max Rushden and sidekicks Rocket and Franky Fryer, will be at the ground for Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Woking.
Entry will be free, with the fun getting under way at noon, and the game kicking-off at 2pm.
Town manager Jason Bristow said: “It’s a big day for the club, and hopefully we will get a good crowd down at The Soccer AM Stadium.
“It’s a fantastic thing that is happening, and credit to marketing manager Simon Hood for managing to pull it off. It’s great for non-league football in general, because the exposure could help raise awareness of other clubs as well.”
In addition to the Soccer AM crew, there will also be a marching band, cheerleaders from Basingstoke Wolverines and a bouncy castle, while Basingstoke dog Doug the Pug, who attained fame by predicting scores during the World Cup, will also be on hand to join in the fun.
Supporters will get the chance to have their picture taken with the Hampshire Senior Cup, while the stars of Soccer AM will take part in a question and answer session alongside Town boss Jason Bristow and the players after the game.
Bristow is looking forward to the game, which he believes will give a good indication of the level his team have reached with just one week to go before the start of the Conference South campaign.
“Woking are a good side and it will be a good indication of where we are at in our preparation for the season,” he said. “The games so far have been good tests for different reasons and there have been a lot of positives to take.”
Town go into the game with an unbeaten record in pre-season friendly matches. They drew 2-2 away at Swindon Supermarine on Saturday, Manny Williams and Sam Argent getting the goals, while strikes from Chris Flood, Julian Owusu, Argent and Josh Drew earned an experimental side a 4-1 win at Fleet Town on Tuesday.
Owusu became the sixth forward to sign when he put pen to paper at the end of last week, having impressed Bristow throughout pre-season.
The futures of former Chelsea youngster Adam Nditi, Marcus Johnson-Schuster, Josh Drew and Junior Strassa, who all featured on Tuesday, remain unclear, but Bristow has been forced to admit defeat in his bid to sign midfielder Ryan Scott.
“With his work and family commitments, Ryan admitted that he could not give us 100 per cent and we respect that,” Bristow added. “We have players who can do a job in front of the back four, so we will not rush, but we are looking at other options.”
Injury-wise, defender David Ray is moving closer to a return from an ankle injury, while Liam Enver-Marum and Shaun McAuley are expected to be fit for Saturday’s game after sitting out the trip to Fleet with knocks. However, Lloyd Macklin is a doubt for the game after he too picked up a minor problem.